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CPS superintendent says Hickman student who was source of threat has been identified

Hickman High School
Hickman High School


The head of Columbia Public Schools said Thursday that a Hickman High School student has been detained for a threat scrawled on a bathroom stall.

The threat of a Thursday shooting at Hickman High School, which was discovered Wednesday and which CPS officials and police said was not credible, was circulated on social media, administrators said. However, Superintendent Brian Yearwood said in a letter to families that families and students began to limit the sharing of the threat after CPS officials asked them to.

That cooperation helped investigators track down a boy from outside the district who was mimicking the threat on social media. Police said Thursday that the boy was detained and released when investigators determined he wasn't the source of the threat, even though he had taken credit for it online.

"Additionally, as a result of the thorough investigation by school and district administrators, law enforcement, and direct reports of information to administrators by Hickman students, a juvenile Hickman High School student was arrested for the graffiti incident this afternoon," Yearwood wrote Thursday.

Columbia police said they detained a juvenile on suspicion of making a terrorist threat.

The Columbia Police Department released more information about the threat Thursday on its social media accounts after CPS officials alerted families Wednesday. CPD says its officers learned at about 5 p.m. of a photo circulating of writing on a girls' bathroom stall threatening a school shooting Thursday.

Hickman Principal Mary Grupe wrote in an email to families Wednesday that the threat was not credible. Yearwood reiterated that message Thursday.

"This was never a credible threat," he wrote. "We take all threats seriously.  We also thoroughly investigate each threat regardless of its credibility." 

Police and Columbia Public Schools' security officials couldn't figure out who made the threat. A photo of the writing had been shared "numerous times between students and parents," CPD said.

Police said "additional resources" were placed at Hickman High School on Thursday. CPD is still investigating.

CPD said in a social media post Thursday evening that more information might be released later because the investigation is ongoing.

The threat is one of dozens, credible or otherwise, reported around the state so far this year. Reports of shooting threats to the state's Courage2Report hotline have increased to 60 from January to October compared with 29 in 2019.

Article Topic Follows: Columbia Public Schools

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Matthew Sanders

Matthew Sanders is the digital content director at ABC 17 News.


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